Retail Employment Dips In March Following February Surge

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0aaretailjobsAlthough retail employment slipped by 6,400 in March, job numbers were ahead for the year and stronger than a year ago, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said.

Industry employment in March 2018 was 30,800 higher than unadjusted March 2017 figures and followed the addition of 42,400 jobs in February. The three-month moving average in March showed an increase of 14,200 jobs, as compared to an increase of 10,600 jobs in the three-month moving average for February.

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Easter Purchases Will Continue Strong Consumer Spend Trend

Easter spending is expected to hit $18.2 billion this year, slightly below the $18.4 billion spent in 2017 but still the second-highest level on record, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics. An estimated 81% of Americans will shop for the holiday, spending an average of $150 per person.

Approximately 87% of consumers plan to buy food, totaling a combined $5.7 billion. Other categories that will benefit from the holiday include:

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NRF Supports $1.5 Trillion Infrastructure Investment Plan

A White House plan to leverage $200 billion in federal funds in order to complete $1.5 trillion in infrastructure improvements, released on Feb. 12, has received qualified support from the National Retail Federation (NRF).

“As major shippers, retailers face challenges every day as they work to move freight quickly, efficiently and safely to deliver products and meet consumer demands amid a rapid rise in e-Commerce,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay in a statement. “Through the framework released today, we hope bipartisan discussions will advance meaningful solutions to our infrastructure needs, including a long-term sustainable funding source that treats all transportation system users fairly.”

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Retail Sales Projected To Grow Between 3.7% And 4.4% In 2018

0aanrfThe National Retail Federation (NRF) unveiled its 2018 economic forecast, projecting annual U.S. retail sales will increase between 3.8% and 4.4% over 2017. The positive projection comes after an encouraging 2017 holiday season that saw 5.5% sales growth in November and December. If retail sales did jump 4.4%, 2018 would have the biggest increase since 2011, when retail revenues climbed 5%.

The NRF projection is slightly higher than the eMarketer 2018 forecast, which anticipates 3.7% total retail growth.

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Does The 5.5% Holiday Sales Increase Signal A 2018 Retail Rebound?

While 2017 was arguably a year of turmoil for retailers, the industry managed to end on a high note: $691.6 billion in holiday sales for November and December, a 5.5% increase over the same period in 2016, according to data from the National Retail Federation (NRF). The results exceeded the NRF forecast of a 3.6% to 4% increase, and marked the largest percentage jump since the 5.2% seen in 2010, when the country was coming out of the Great Recession of 2008-2009.

Another sign that things are looking up: growth was not limited to a few big retailers or specific verticals. “The holiday results were very strong, showing renewed confidence in the economy and some of the positive aspects of the tax cuts,” said Michael Brown, a partner in the retail practice of A.T. Kearney and author of an upcoming report on the future of retail real estate. “Additionally, the performance improvements seem to be across the board.”

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Tyco Strengthens Analytics With Google Cloud Collaboration

0aatycoTyco Retail Solutions is collaborating with Google Cloud to strengthen its market leadership in next-generation real-time analytics, and store execution and performance solutions. The companies will work to deliver retail use cases marrying real-time edge intelligence and decision making with core cloud computing.

The initial phase of the partnership integrates Tyco’s real-time data intelligence and application capabilities across store inventory, loss prevention and traffic on the Google Cloud Platform. This integration will provide retailers with a real-time view into accurate inventory availability for unified commerce fulfillment, as well as in-store traffic data and insights for improved customer engagement.

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Terry Lundgren, Retail CEOs All Agree: Personalization Is Paramount For 2018

The fourth annual NRF Foundation Gala took place in New York City on Jan. 14, featuring an awards program and formal dinner that included both silent and live auctions. The event raised more than $2.8 million to support the Foundation’s programs, including educational and inspirational initiatives and student scholarships — and it also showcased a preview of things to come in 2018.

Terry Lundgren, the former CEO of Macy’s, as well as CEOs from major retailers including Neiman Marcus, Petco, 1-800-FLOWERS.com and BJ’s Wholesale Club, shared their insights on the coming year from the event’s exclusive red carpet. One common theme emanated from the execs: Personalization initiatives will determine the success of retail customer experiences going forward.

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NRF Calls Tax Bill A Victory For Retailers

Passage of the tax reform act by the U.S. House and Senate on Dec. 20 was hailed by the National Retail Federation as a boon for retailers, particularly SMBs.

“Passage of tax reform is a major victory for retailers who currently pay the highest tax rate of any business sector, and for the millions of consumers they serve every single day,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay in a statement. “Our priorities were clear: reform must jumpstart the economy, encourage companies to invest here in the United States, increase wages and expand opportunities for employees, and protect our small business community, of which the vast majority are retailers. That’s exactly what this legislation will achieve.”

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